Monday, March 04, 2013
Swiss citizens have voted to curb executive pay with a stringent new law. Will anyone follow them in the EU and the US? Pay for performance is secure under the new provision but high salaries are now subject to binding shareholder vote and golden parachutes and signing bonuses are out. Swiss CEOs have a new public relations chore added to their list of things to do -- justifying their compensation to shareholders. Activists would like to see a similar law everywhere. The Swiss vote gives them reasons to hope. Pay is not an issue in which PR practitioners normally get involved but it is, as the Swiss vote attests, subject to public opinion. There were numerous PR efforts before the vote to convince Swiss citizens not to pass the law. There will now be ongoing efforts from corporation to corporation to protect executive pay.